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Ex-navy man uses hydroponics to grow turmeric in grow bags

CV Prakash, a former naval officer, dedicated his free time during the lockdown last year to find ways of making growing turmeric (Curcuma longa) more profitable for farmers. He has trained over 12,000 people in soilless farming techniques since 2008.

During his research into growing the Salem variety of turmeric at his CV Hydro training center in Chikkasandra, Bengaluru, from May 2020 to January 2021, Prakash found that his specialized and unique hydroponic farming methods were generating spectacular results.

At the CV Hydro training center, under Prakash’s premier horticulture upskilling institution Aggragannya Skills, his crops generated a curcumin content of 5.91%—nearly double of the standard 3% found in the Salem variety—and the highest yield was up to 8.17 kg from a single grow bag.

Farmers in places like Erode, Tamil Nadu, where the Salem variety is popularly grown, only garner about 500-700 g of turmeric per plant on conventional soil farms. “At best, a farmer may get 1 kg, if he’s doing it well,” claims Prakash.

Encouraged by the results, Prakash began Mission Turmeric 2021 in the last week of January 2021, through which he announced his “Orange revolution”. In this ‘revolution’, Prakash is teaching farmers and people from different walks of life how to cultivate this popular spice in grow bags (sizable porous bags made of high-density polyethylene) packed with coco-peat (derived from coconut fiber extracted from husks) instead of growing in soil. His turmeric crops are grown in simple net houses as turmeric is a shade-loving plant.

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